Tomorrow is the Cabinet’s weekly Wednesday meeting.
One of the issues the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the 36 Ministers in the Cabinet must wrestle with is what they could to end one of the greatest injustices in the Najib premiership of six year nine months – where a mother had been forcibly separated from her 11-month old baby daughter not for one or two years but for seven years!
The Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Parliament and the Judiciary have all failed Indira Gandhi and the Constitution, the laws, the courts and the system of governance have been manipulated to deny Indira her fundamental rights as a mother to see, hold and touch her daughter!
The same week that Najib became the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia in April 2009, Indira found that her three children had without her knowledge or consent been unilaterally converted to Islam by her ex husband, who had converted to Islam a month earlier.
That started Indira’s long and still unending legal battle for control and custody of her three children.
Recent reports that the Cabinet had assigned three Ministers to look into the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment on her case, or the announcement that the Prime Minister had “agreed in principle to study whether existing laws need to be amended to prevent unilateral conversion of children” provide neither consolation nor solace to a mother who had been forced to fight the system for close to seven years just to exercise the basic maternal and human rights to see her daughter – especially as there had been so many instances of Cabinet impotence and failures in her seven-year struggle.
What could be more heart-rending than her teary-account of her forlorn seven-year fight to be with her daughter.
As she recounted about what happened seven years ago:
“There was an argument, he assaulted me, it’s just a few seconds. He grabbed Prasana my daughter’s hand and he just fled. That was the last time.”
It has been seven years since she last saw Prasana and not a single day has passed without her thinking about her youngest daughter.
She said: “Till today we can’t get single information about how she is, which school she is going to, there is nothing. I have no information but she is always in our prayers, she is fine, doing well.”
What type of a government is the Prime Minister heading, which could deny Indira her maternal instincts to see her daughter for seven long years?
Indira is appealing to the Federal Court, which can mean a total of a 10-year agony and not just a seven-year battle.
Nobody would believe if he or she were told when Malaya achieved independence in 1957 or Malaysia established in 1963 that under the nation’s Constitution, laws and system, a mother could be forcibly separated from her child for seven long years as not able to see or touch her, and that the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Parliament, Judiciary, the Constitution and the laws could conspire to deny a mother her basic maternal rights.
The first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein, would be horrified that such an injustice could be perpetrated in Malaysia under our Constitution, laws and system of governance, and I have no doubt that as Prime Minister they would have acted to ensure that such injustice would be ended immediately and not marred Malaysia and our system of governance.
Isn’t there something that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet can do immediately tomorrow to ease Indira’s agony, pain and suffering as a mother in Malaysia?
Leaving aside for the moment what could be done to spell out the law clearly and justly about the problem of unilateral religious conversion of underaged children by one of the parents, there is no reason why the Prime Minister and the Cabinet could do nothing to ensure that within 48 hours, Indira Gandhi should be able to re-unite with her daughter whom she had not seen for seven long years.
This is a test not only of the compassion and humanity, but also the sense of justice and competence of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
Let Najib and Cabinet tell Malaysians after their meeting tomorrow what they could do to end one of the greatest injustices of the Najib premiership – the forcible separation of a mother from her daughter for seven long years – with Indira’s re-union with her daughter for the first time in seven years!